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Comment from the book world in August 2008

August 2008

Adding relevance

25 August 2008

'Journals publishing has probably changed more in the last 15 years than since T & F (Taylor and Francis) first started publishing them in 1798. It's obvious, but the internet has changed print. Publishers have moved from being suppliers of information where there has been a lack of it, to filters of quality in a world where there has been too much of it. What's the difference between junk email and a letter that has been written to you? It's relevance. That's what publishers do, add relevance.'

Roger Horton, CEO of Taylor & Francis on academic publishing in the Bookseller

'100,000 years old'

18 August 2008

'America suited the book I wanted to write much more than Britain. British crime stories tend to be very internal, psychological, claustrophobic, very limited in terms of geography. If you think about Ian Rankin, it's a small area of Edinburgh. I wanted to do something that was more wide-ranging in terms of geography, empty spaces, distant horizons...

Thrillers are the direct survivor of what must have been the first type of stories told way back whenever it was, the Stone Age or before. We must have told stories about danger and peril and then survival and order to console or encourage ourselves. I think the thriller form is 100,000 years old and the reason people learned to tell stories. Other genres are welcome to ride along.'

Lee Child, British author of number one bestseller Nothing to Lose in the Observer

Children and books

11 August 2008

'There is a national anxiety about reading, which is fostered by the Government, which is quite happy to spend large amounts of time, money and effort on the teaching of synthetic phonics and yet not match that with a similar amount of time, money and effort in supporting the reading of books.

There has to be a whole-school approach to reading and enjoyment of books which must include parents. We must find ways in which parents can enjoy books with children. It must be as much a part of the education process as doing science or history.'

UK Children's Laureate Michael Rosen in the Independent on Sunday.

'Increasing demands'

4 August 2008

'Amazon has been removing the 'buy button' from some of our books and removing some of our titles from promotional positions... to apply pressure on us to give Amazon even better commercial terms than it presently receives. There are important strategic reasons for us to resist completely Amazon's demands...

Despite these advantageous terms (the most generous in the English language world from publishers) Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another making increasing demands in order to achieve richer terms at our expense and sometimes at yours... If this continued, it would not be long before Amazon got virtually all of the revenue that is presently shared between author, publisher, retailer, printer and other parties.'

From a letter to authors sent by Tim Hely-Hutchinson, Group CEO of Hachette, quoted in The Times